Uniting America: Connecting with Filipino-American Youth

January 23, 2012
Katherine Rivera AmeriCorps Fellow

On Tuesday, January 17, I had the opportunity to visit a great student organization at Oakton Community College in the North suburbs. PAYO (Pilipino-American Youth Organization) is a vibrant group working hard to not only encourage each other as Filipino students but also enrich the campus by sharing their culture.

We shared a lot of laughs that night but I also got to chat with Ann Mitra, President of PAYO, about her own experience developing this group and getting her fellow students to see its value. Like Uniting America, they are a new organization trying to build bridges between different cultures. As a Filipino-American myself, I was surprised to hear that PAYO has only been existence for about a year. I was all the more excited to partner up with them in enriching our larger community through volunteering. That night I signed up 15 students to teach English and tutor!

I've been a Fellow for almost 2 months now and so far this is my favorite part of the job- meeting people who share a delight in and commitment to their community. I'm looking forward to more little victories for Uniting America in the coming months!